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The Magnificent Kharta Valley

The Kharta Valley has some of the world’s greatest views. In this article, Alister Benn gives an inspiring account of his visit, and offers pointers that will be invaluable to other would-be travellers

I am so comfortable and warm wrapped in my down cocoon, I have slept well, despite the high altitude, but I shrug aside any thoughts of lying there any longer. The very slightest hint of pre-dawn light has started to permeate the tent and I know what I must do. At 5000m the brain doesn’t quite tick over as we are used to and I start to assemble a list of tasks that will get me from my lying position to fully dressed and out of the tent; it’s an alarmingly long list! At this altitude, even turning over in your sleep can make you breathless, and the effort required to do the simplest things becomes such a daunting barrier to activity – I rely on pure bloody-minded stubbornness to get me through.

It’s only a few hundred meters from our tent village up to the alpine lake that I have in mind for sunrise, but it takes a real battle of will to get there. Breaking journeys down into manageable bite-sized pieces, a pre-determined number of steps rewarded with so many seconds of rest, is the...

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About Author

Alister Benn

Alister Benn is a full-time landscape photographer, author and guide. Having lived for over a decade in the Himalaya of Tibet and SW China, he now lives and works on the Isle of Skye with his wife Juanli Sun.

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